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January 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM

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Second-term Obama Cabinet begins to form

Chris Gregoire for chief of staff, not EPA administrator

A recent story [“Obama’s second-term Cabinet taking shape,” News, Jan. 10] mentions that Gov. Chris Gregoire is being touted for EPA administrator. Although I think she would do a fine job as a Cabinet secretary, I think there is an even better job available. Jack Lew’s nomination for treasury secretary opens up the chief of staff slot.

It is hard to imagine anyone more qualified to fill this critical position. In many ways, it is more powerful and important than the Cabinet positions her name is being attached to. Gregoire has a wealth of experience managing a staff as governor and before that as state attorney general.

But more than that she has been successful in hammering out deals in contentious situations. She was a key player in the tobacco settlement as attorney general and has had to work with a contentious legislature in steering the state through the horrific budget problems of the past few years.

Although not necessary liked by all parties she has garnered respect on all sides as hardworking, competent and reasonable, as someone who is open to everyone’s ideas, and as an honest broker that all sides can work with.

Obama has been criticized for the number of women in key administration positions and especially in his inner circle. Chief of Staff Gregoire would be a great addition to the Obama team.

--Patrick J. Russell, Seattle

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